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Why have we decided to be part of the Roosevelt Movement? Here is one of several reasons.

Since its conception, the battle of the Roosevelt Movement for the diffusion and protection of human rights has continued incessantly and known no pause. Our watchful eye is always ready to analyse the events that take place in the world every day and to distill them through a truly democratic vision we have for society, which attempts to go beyond the climate of tension, sadly typical of nowadays’ highly polarised debates. Just as in the case of this tragic story that we are about to present.

“BIRDS IN A CAGE – The case of Ahed Tamimi and other Palestinian minors detained in Israeli prisons” is a debate we are organising and which will be held in London on Saturday 7 July 2018, from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm, in the Seminar Room 2 at “Resource for London” (356 Holloway Road, London N7 6PA).

Together with the Israeli historian, professor and social activist Ilan Pappè, the Roosevelt Movement will host an important debate whose main purpose will be to move hearts and minds and create public awareness on a tragic example of failing to protect human rights: the story, widely reported by the mass media, of Ahed Tamimi, the teenage Palestinian activist who is serving an eight-month prison sentence, guilty of confronting an Israeli soldier after learning that his cousin Mohamed had been almost fatally injured to his head with a rubber bullet fired by a group of Israeli soldiers. Mohammed is now suffering a deformed skull and requires constant therapies. Ahed Tamimi’s trial took place strictly behind closed doors, so that the case would have the least amount possible of international resonance. Various videos and articles on independent media reported the verbal threats Ahed was being subjected to by Israeli officials so that the latter could obtain information. We would also like to point out the explicit incitement to sexual violence against underage girls by various authoritative intellectuals, exacerbating the status of a category already vulnerable such as the one of minors, with the situation even more at risk of teenage girls, isolated from family and lawyers and in a military context dominated by men.

The debate will also aim to address the living conditions of other Palestinian minors whilst being detained in the Israeli prisons, and on which the case of Ahed Tamimi has contributed to turn international attention. Data from the international organization Human Rights Watch will be analysed.

The event will include the screening of some segments of the exclusive interview that the American journalist Abby Martin did with Ahed Tamimi for the TV network, Telesur – later translated into Italian by an independent broadcaster, Pandora TV – and performances by various artists who would like to offer their own contribution to the subject. The public will be invited to join in by expressing their own thoughts and viewpoints throughout the debate and address their questions to a panel of experts.

With regards to the latter, Professor Pappé will be joined by members of human rights organisations, journalists and other academic figures. The conditions with which the speakers have been selected, we hope, will lay the foundations for a constructive and peaceful debate, whose purpose is not to prompt the public to take a stand in the Arab-Israeli conflict, but, in the purest spirit of denunciation of the Roosevelt Movement, to shed light on a tragic – and, unfortunately, too modern – case of violation of human rights. We are convinced that a concrete dialogue for peace is only possible if a preliminary climate for peace is established between the two parties, in which basic human rights – especially those of the most vulnerable human categories, such as minors – are respected by both parties, and in which individuals, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt once wonderfully stated in his speech on the four freedoms, are free from fear.

Roosevelt Movement UK, London branch 

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